older man thinking

Protected Characteristic - Age

The   Employment (Age) regulations 2006 provided legislation which protected people of all ages who were in employment or vocational training. A Default Retirement Age (DRA) was in place which allowed employers to terminate employment of a person once they had reach the age of 65 years. An employee had the right to request a continuation of their employment but the decision was with the employer. This was overturned by the Equality Act 2010 and  people can make a choice of when to retire.

The Equality Act 2010 took the protection of Age further. Initially in October 2010 the act provided protection against ageism in employment, education and training. In April 2012 the legislation gave new protection to for older people when receiving godds and services with some exceptions.

"Unlike the other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination because of age can be justified if it is objectively justifiable - that is, 'a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.'  This recognises that some age-differentiated treatment is socially acceptable. However, it is unclear how this legal test will be applied by the Courts"


Useful websites

Look at the Equality and Human Rights Commission Definition of Age as a Protected Characteristic

Download The British Institute of Human Rights Guide for Older People

For a description of ageism from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Download the government report 'Banning Age Discrimination in Services'

For the relevant part of the Equality Act 2010

Read new guidance on age discrimination (ACAS, 2019)

Return to Equality and Human Rights page